Energy, military, cancer and debt collection are the region's most fertile hiring fields as the national economy slows, says Michael Wiley, founder and president of 24-person McGrath Systems Technical Staffing Inc., Blue Bell, where he says business has grown over the past year despite the national economic slowdown.
"Anything related to energy is red hot, from fossil fuels to nuclear energy. That's a shift from 12 to 24 months ago, when we had emphasis on structural and civil engineers. Those skill sets have gone bye-bye for now." Among military contractors, "Lockheed and Grumman, for example, are busy." Washington, D.C., as usual, is where the big action is.
Wiley also expects to place "a lot of accounts payable and accounts receivable. The credit crunch has had a ripple effect." More companies are hiring small staffs of in-house collectors, instead of outsourcing as they did in busier times.
What about pharma, Philadelphia's growth industry for the past decade? "I'm starting to see some interesting trends. 12 to 24 months ago we were putting a lot of people into research and development, sales, marketing. Those positions are no longer hot." Instead, "we're seeing demand from over-the-counter drugs, vaccines, pharmaceuticals that have connections to oncology treatments. That's where the money is. The pharma companies are able to charge a premium for that. They're not seeing the same returns in other drugs."
In financial services, where "folks in the home mortgage industry have been displaced, we're able to take a lot of the folks that were compliance-related, and who, for example, used to verify loan-to-value data. Their skills are transferrable to employers looking for financial analysts."